Casa De Mar, Koh Samui Island

50 Best Luxury Private Pool Villas in Thailand

50 Best Private Pool Villas & Hotels
Your Villas in Thailand Guide (By Location)

Believe it or not, private pool villas are hard to come by in Thailand. And just because you find one that’s pretty…doesn’t mean that it’s in a good location for your vacation! Book your Thailand hotel carefully or…just follow this guide.

Here are the best private pool villas in Thailand. Prices start from $97 USD but the average cost is usually around $225 – with the most luxurious honeymoon private pool villas reaching over $1000 USD. Whatever your budget (mid-spend to baller) and your mood (jungle paradise to beachfront views) – I’ve got it all right here.

Before you come to Thailand, get your copy of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide – Thailand if you want the most epic vacation without all the scams, creeps and ripoffs. Okay, let’s go hotel shopping!

 

The Best Villa in Chiang Mai

 

#1 Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai

The Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai

The sexiest pool villa in Chiang Mai…and also one of the only pool villas in Chiang Mai. The Four Seasons has outdone themselves with this 260 ft² private pool (that’s massive for a private pool, btw), a refreshing outdoor shower, poolside cabana, and of course, 5-star service.

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Best For: A Luxury Honeymoon in Chiang Mai
Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand
What’s Around: You’re surrounded by rice fields and mountains, but not too far from Chiang Mai’s “old town”.

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Top Private Villas in Khao Lak

#2 – Manathai Khao Lak

Manathai Khao Lak

Come enjoy a resort seated on a pristine private beach along a picturesque coastline underneath warm tropical skies! You’ll find large contemporary-decorated rooms, upscale amenities, pampering massages, delicious dishes to dine on, and an infinity pool with breathtaking panoramic views of the sea.

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Best For: Couples getaway
Where: Bangsak Beach, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: Aside from your private beach, you can find Sairung Waterfall nearby as well. A short drive and you’ll spot the Tsunami memorial, Baan Nam Khem Pier, and various day markets.

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#3 – Robinson Club Khao Lak

Robinson Club Khao Lak

Choose to lounge on the beach, unwind with a Thai massage, or hang out at one of three outdoor pools overlooking the Andaman Sea. You can sleep in large suites, bathe in rain showers, enjoy a breakfast buffet or indulge in a dinner cocktail here at Robinson Club Khao Lak.

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Best For: Friends or a family looking for an all-inclusive feel.
Where: BangsakBeach, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: Only a mile from Pak Weep Beach in Khao Lak National park and Sairung Waterfall. Venture a little farther to check out the Bang Niang Market, Monkey Bar or Baan Nam Khem Pier.

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#4 – Sentido Graceland Khao Lak Resort & Spa

Sentido Graceland Khao Lak Resort & Spa

Feast your eyes on beautiful views while your belly fills with delicious food from one of three dining options at this resort. Enjoy clean and bright rooms or check out their on-site bowling alley, watersports options, spa massage, or outdoor infinity pool with an ocean view.

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Best For: An all-inclusive feel
Where: Bangsak Beach, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: Only a 10-min drive to Khaolak Centre, there’s no shortage of activities. Enjoy the resorts numerous options (including lounging on the beach) or venture out to Sairung Waterfall, Baan Nam Khem Pier, or Khao Sok National Park

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#5 – Kalima Resort and Villas Khao Lak

Kalima Resort and Villas Khao Lak

Relax in a rustic resort doting rooms with unique wood finishes, luxurious amenities & bathrooms, and refreshing private pools. You’ll also find a waterpark, outdoor pool, restaurant & bar, kids club & playground, and various activities.

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Best For: Relaxing family fun
Where: Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: Seated on Khao Lak Beach, you’re seconds from toes in the sand! Nearby you’ll find Tublamu Pier, Khao Lak Centre market, and Lampi Waterfall. Take advantage of their free bikes!

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#6 – Apsara Beachfront Resort & Villa

Apsara Beachfront Resort & Villa

Grab your Hunny and head over to explore tropical gardens, picturesque lagoons, and the azure waters of the Andaman Sea. The serene resort offers a range of rooming options, dining venues, rejuvenating leisure facilities, and lots of tranquil nature vibes.

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Best For: A Nature-lovers romantic hideaway
Where: Laem Pakarang Beach, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: Enjoy the white sand beaches of Laem Pakarang Beach when you stay here. Venture out and find Sairung Waterfall, Markets and the Baan Nam Khem Pier.

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#7 – Moracea by Khao Lak Resort

Moracea by Khao Lak Resort

Seated atop of Khaolak Hill, enjoy oceanfront views as a gentle slope carries you to rock-jutting blue waters and white sand where you can enjoy a beach-side meal. Boasting colorful, upscale rooms within a peaceful environment, four outdoor pools with bar, fitness rooms and spa services, this resort is a win-for-all!

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Best For: Upscale beach getaway
Where: Khao Lak Beach, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: Nang Thong Beach is a couple of feet away. Head out to enjoy Bangnieng Afternoon Market, Tublamu Pier, and Sairung Waterfall.

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#8 – Devasom Khao Lak Beach Resort & Villas

Devasom Khao Lak Beach Resort & Villas

Get lost in a rich and luxurious resort seated on Khao Lak’s sunset beach amid a natural lagoon, tropical gardens, and coconut groves. All rooms have sea views and are decorated by lavish ancient architecture of Southeast Asia to fully immerse you into the Thai culture.

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Best For: Sandy Sunset beach walks
Where: Khuk Khak Beach, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: A short 10-min from Khao Lak downtown and tons of activities! The resort offers kayaking and bicycle rental, spa services, and a 24-hr fitness center. Khao Lak National Park is nearby along with other waterfalls, Piers, and markets. Similan Islands can also be reached by speedboat!

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#9 – Beyond Resort Khaolak – Adults Only

Beyond Resort Khaolak - Adults Only

Relax in modern elegance with Thai-style villas featuring rain-shower bathrooms, private balconies, and even a private pool for your pleasure. The resort features international restaurants, an outdoor pool with a refreshing bar, and a clean & organized fitness center.

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Best For: Fun without a child in sight!
Where: Phang Na, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: White water rafting and jungle trekking spots are only 10-min away! Sairung Waterfall, Afternoon Markets, and Baan Nam Khem Pier are also nearby.

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#10 – Le Méridien Khao Lak Resort & Spa

Le Méridien Khao Lak Resort & Spa

The new addition of Marriott International, Le Méridien is a 5-star resort located on the secluded white sands of Bangsak Beach and features a streamlined modern decor, 3 swimming pools & 2 whirlpools, 6 restaurants & bars, a 24-hr fitness center, and a relaxing spa. You’ll also find recreational activities, a breakfast buffet, and a kids club!

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Best For: Couples or families looking for beach fun
Where: Phang Na, Khao Lak, Thailand
What’s Around: Other than a beautiful beach, you’re only 15 minutes from the town center. Sairung Waterfall, Baan Nam Khem Pier, Tsunami memorial, and Markets are short trips also.

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The Best Villas in Krabi

 

#11 – Krabi Resort

Krabi, Thailand (3) Krabi Resort

Enjoy charming & cozy rooms with private terraces, private beach access, spectacular diving sites, and limestone cliffs when you choose Krabi Resort. Lounging at their large outdoor pool with swim-up bar, choosing from a variety of recreational activities, and an on-site restaurant make staying here an irresistible option.

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Best For: Boutique Beach feel with lots of recreations
Where: Ao Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand
What’s Around: The only resort in Krabi with private beachfront access, take advantage of the beautiful Andaman Sea and enjoy island hopping, Phra Nang Cave, scuba diving, snorkeling, or rock climbing.

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#12 – Hula Hula Resort

Hula Hula Resort

Experience an exotic blend of old Thai culture, modern green philosophy, and tropical feels with positive energy all throughout. Enjoy cozy and comfy pineapple-themed rooms, great views overlooking the Andaman sea and surrounding cliffs, and four outdoor swimming pools.

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Best For: Positive vibrations from local culture
Where: Ao Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand
What’s Around: Ao Nang beach is a 3-minute drive by free shuttle, or head to Ao Nang mosque, Railay Rock Climbing point, Princess lagoon, or nearby museums.

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#13 – Andakiri Pool Villa

Andakiri Pool Villa

By choosing a private villa you can enjoy your own infinity pool with panoramic views of the Andaman Sea and the lush beach town of Krabi. Known for its affordable luxury, pamper yourself at this hillside villa with close proximity to beach access.

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Best For: A private solo getaway
Where: Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand
What’s Around: Noppara Thara and Ao Nang Beaches are equidistant from the resort. Rent scooters and head to Phra Nang Cave, Wat Kaew Korawaram, or Dragon Crest Mountain.

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Railay Beach Private Villas

 

#14 – Avatar Railay

Railay Beach, Thailand (2) Avatar Railay

Enjoy this secluded boutique resort, only accessible by boat, and get lost in tropical lush greenery and modern decor with fine furnishings imported from America and Canada. Offering a harmonious blend of earth-tones and luxury, an outdoor pool featuring poolside pagodas, tree-lined walkways, and delicious food options, this resort will fulfill all of your senses.

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Best For: Secluded tropical escape
Where: Railay Beach
What’s Around: Princess Lagoon, Railay Rock Climbing point, and Phra Nang Cave are close by landmarks. You can walk along the strip and experience delicious food and various markets or head to Krabi Pier.

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#15 – Railay Bay Resort & Spa

Railay Bay Resort & Spa

Find spacious cottages set in a tropical landscape with private balconies, cane wood furnishings, and large marble bathrooms. Relax with a soothing massage, lounge in your private hammock, or enjoy sea-views from their outdoor pool while you sip a cool beverage.

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Best For: Secluded beach getaway
Where: Railay Beach, Thailand
What’s Around: Enjoy activities such as rock climbing or canoeing. The tour desk can help set up day trips. You can rent bikes or scooters to check out Phra Nang Cave, Princess Lagoon, or Ao Phai Plong nearby.

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Private Pool Villas in Koh Phangan

 

#16 – Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas & Spa by L’Occitane

Koh Phangan, Thailand (6) Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas & Spa by L’Occitane

Do you prefer the Sunset Pool Villa or the Seaview Pool Villa. The first is sexy and exotic; and the second is tropical and beachy. You really cant go wrong, especially with the big terrazzo bathtub, high ceilings, and amazing location right next to the beach.

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Best For: Couples or solo adventurers
Where: Haad Pleayleam, Phangan Beach, Thailand
What’s Around: Thongsala Pier, Thongsala Walking street, and Phaeng Waterfall are all nearby. If you’re looking to party, the Full Moon Party at Rin Beach is only 7 miles away!

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#17 – Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas

Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas

Private pools, private terraces, private beach access, free breakfast, relaxing massages… what else do you need? Enjoy white sands, refreshing waters, up-scale amenities, and food to salivate over when you stay at these cozy villas.

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Best For: Solo relaxation in a tropical escape
Where: Tong Nai Pan Noi Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand
What’s Around: Adventure awaits! Check out Tharn Sadet Waterfall, the Phangan Safari, Chaloklum Bay, or Baan Tai Jungle experience within a couple of miles from the villas.

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#18 – Panviman Koh Phangan

Panviman Koh Phangan

Ornately decorated rooms featuring rock walls and carved wood furnishings offer spectacular views of Thai beauty and indoor/outdoor bathrooms with high-end amenities. Get lost in the lavish tropical escape this hilltop villa has to offer from their private beach access or from the comfort of your personal pool.

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Best For: A solo cultural getaway
Where: Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand
What’s Around: Koh Samui is a short boat ride away! Or check out Tharn Sadet Waterfall, Phaeng Waterfall, Big Buddha or Fisherman Village. Resort activities include diving, snorkeling, kayaking, or land treks or jeep excursions.

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#19 – Somewhere Only We Know

Somewhere Only We Know

Welcome to a secluded villa only accessible by a 7-minute foot trek into the jungle or via boat if weather permits. Lounge amongst the trees, bathe under tropical foliage or get lost in the sea when you choose to stay at this rustic, yet updated open-to-nature hideaway.

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Best For: Nature lovers looking to escape
Where: Baan Khail, Koh Phangna, Thailand
What’s Around: Enjoy the private jungle spa next to a waterfall for a massage or detox round! Use their standup paddle boards, snorkeling gear, or relax on the white sands. Haad rin Pier and Khao Ra mountain are also nearby.

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#20 – Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa

Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa

Experience an eco-chic beachfront hideaway featuring rooms adorned by elegant teak-wood and a traditional Thai feel. Enjoy your own private pool, or head to the main infinity pool for views of the Andaman sea and poolside waterfall.

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Best For: Traditional Thai beach vibes
Where: Thong Nai Pan Noi, Koh Phangan, Thailand
What’s Around: Aside from the beautiful beachfront, Tharn Sadet Waterfall, Phangan Safari, and Chaloklum Bay are not far. Or enjoy the on-site watersports center featuring canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing.

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#21 – Le Palais Hotel

Koh Phangan Private Pool Villa Escape to this Angkor Wat inspired hotel and enjoy rooms with stone-walls, ornate furnishings, and amazing architecture. Bask in the warm Thai sun from their rooftop sun terrace, cool off at the outdoor pool or blue sea waters at the private beach, or eat at their international cuisine restaurant with beautiful views.

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Best For: A temple-esque vibe to lay your head
Where: Haad Rin, Koh Phangan, Thailand
What’s Around: Haad Rin Pier, The Full Moon Party at Rin Beach, and Big Buddha are nearby. Or check out Haad Rin Nok, a neighboring white-sand beach.

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The Best Villas in Koh Tao

 

#22 – The Place Luxury Boutique Villas

The Place Luxury Boutique Villas

Enjoy spacious one-bedroom villas with glass-roofed bathrooms and rainshowerrs, private infinity pools offering mountain and beach views, and a dining area on your private terrace. These boutique villas all feature floor-length sliding doors that fully open giving you an unobstructed view of the surrounding beauty.

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Best For: A solo or couple retreat
Where: Sairee Beach, Ko Tao, Thailand
What’s Around: Located on Sairee beach, white sand is plentiful. Sairee Plaza, Mango Bay, Sunken Ship, and Shark Bay are also nearby.

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#23 – Naroua Villas

Naroua Villas

Stay in bright and fresh villas boasting colorful decorations and streamlined furniture with a touch of heaven seen in the amenities and private pools! Enjoy breathtaking views of lush tropical greenery and miles of calm blue sea while you relax with an in-villa massage and private dinner.

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Best For: Private getaway with your lover
Where: Sairee Beach, Ko Tao, Thailand
What’s Around: Other than Sairee Beach, Mae Haad Beach is nearby to enjoy. Sairee Plaza, Sunken Ship, and Mango Bay can also be reached with ease. The villas also host private diving tours!

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#24 – Sai Daeng Resort

Sai Daeng Resort

Enjoy rustic rooms with cement walls and floors and wood furnishings while you gaze upon beachfront views from the comfort of a big, cozy bed. Rooms can come with sun terrace, private infinity pool, and garden seating area–the ultimate relaxation station!

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Best For: Those looking to snorkel or get in the water
Where: Chalok Baan Kao Beach, Ko Tao, Thailand
What’s Around: The area is popular for snorkeling, canoeing, and bike rental. Or head out to enjoy Shark Island, Sunken Ship, Love Koh Tao Viewpoint, or Aukotan Market

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#25 – The Fisherman’s Villas

The Fisherman's Villas

Enjoy spacious thatch-roofed villas featuring stunning amenities and breathtaking views overlooking the beachfront. Lush greenery and blue waters are no short supply; relax on your private terrace with your toes dipped into a refreshing plunge pool and let the Thai beauty overtake you.

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Best For: A Rustic Beachfront scuba paradise
Where: Ao Thian Og, Ko Tao, Thailand
What’s Around: Get scuba certified during your stay and enjoy Shark Bay and Chalok Baan Kao Beach both above and below water! Venture out to find Aukotan Market, Chalok Viewpoint, or The Castle Party.

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#26 – Cape Shark Villas

Cape Shark Villas

Built into the Thailand mountainside, you’ll find unique architecture and modern amenities mixed with spacious living areas and panoramic views of natural beauty. Enjoy stylish villas, the azure waters of Shark Bay from a private pool, and the warm Thai weather atop a relaxing sun terrace.

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Best For: Getting lost in upscale nature
Where: Ao Thian Og, Ko Tao, Thailand
What’s Around: Chalok Baan Kao Beach and Shark Bay offer fine watersport activities such as scuba, snorkeling, and kayak. A short 20-min drive and you are amongst some yummy food and fresh markets.

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#27 – Villa Sabai Jai

Villa Sabai Jai

Come enjoy a mixture of finished cement rooms adorned with wood furnishings, high thatched-roofs, and panoramic sea views, and a spacious infinity pool. Sitting 35 meters above the Andaman sea, this private villa can be the perfect place to relax and enjoy both sunrises and sunsets with a loved one.

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Best For: Group of friends or a family looking for secluded relaxation.
Where: Ao Thian Og, Ko Tao, Thailand
What’s Around: The villa offers shuttle service to Mae Haad Pier but there are restaurants and activities within a 3-15min walk. Explore the island via motorbike, check out nearby beaches, or enjoy some water fun and island hop or snorkel with black tip sharks.

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The 6 Best Private Pool Villas in Phuket

 

#28 – The Naka Phuket Villa

Phuket, Thailand (6) The Naka Phuket Villa

Modern architecture, streamlined amenities, and delicious cuisines offer a world-class experience at the Naka. Enjoy glass-built villas along a mountainside giving you panoramic views of the sparkling Andaman sea while you relax in a tropical hideout.

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Best For: Families or groups of friends
Where: Kamala Beach, Phuket, Thailand
What’s Around: A short 10-min ride to the White Sands of Patong Beach and only 20-minutes into phuket town. Closer ideas are Phuket fantasea, Banana Walk, Bangla Road, or Wat Chalong.

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#29 – Sri Panwa Phuket – Adults Only

Sri Panwa Phuket - Adults Only

No detail left unattended at these tropical, private pooled, glass-walled villas! Enjoy ornate decorations, high-end amenities, panoramic views, pampering spa services, and sunsets from a rooftop bar when you choose this adults only resort!

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Best For: Couples retreat with great views
Where: Panwa Beach, Phuket, Thailand
What’s Around: Check out some snorkeling or kayaking at the resorts’ beach or hit up one of 2 tennis courts on property for some easy-to-do things. Nearby you’ll find the Phuket aquarium, Khaokhad view tower, Phuket zoo, Chalong pier, Chalong Temple, and Muay Thai gyms!

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#30 – COMO Point Yamu, Phuket

COMO Point Yamu, Phuket

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors and spacious suites decorated by Italian designer Paola Navone offer unobstructed views of the sea and surrounding jungle. Enjoy a private sun terrace, Thai massages, steam rooms & saunas, or bathe in tubs filled with flowers as you maximize your relaxation.

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Best For: White sands and family fun
Where: Ban Pa Khlok, Phuket, Thailand
What’s Around: The resort offers yoga classes and a fitness center to keep your health in check. Or use their tour desk to book nearby attractions. Check out Phuket Boat Lagoon, Bang Pae Waterfall, Khao Phra Thaeo National Park or hit up Premium outlet Phuket for shopping fun.

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#31 – The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket

The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket

Crisp, modern, and streamlined decor meets tropical paradise to offer you a world-class experience. Boasting three infinity pools, multiple fitness facilities, a relaxing spa, and bayfront property on a peaceful coastline, you’re sure to enjoy your stay at The Westin Siray Bay!

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Best For: Solo gal seeking upscale peace & serenity
Where: Siray Bay, Phuket, Thailand
What’s Around: Head out for adventure and hit Koh Sirey Temple, Rassada Pier, the Saphan Hin Mining Monument, or the Chinpracha House. Or take advantage of a beachfront location and enjoy Yoga or volleyball.

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#32 – The Village Coconut Island Beach Resort

The Village Coconut Island Beach Resort

Experience a laid-back island beach resort that boasts suites & villas with colorful and streamlined decor, upscale amenities, and private pools with sea views! Enjoy an all-inclusive option for ease of mind and some relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland.

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Best For: All-inclusive getaway
Where: Coast of Phuket, overlooking Phang Nga Bay, Phuket
What’s Around: Some of the best water sports are offered like paddleboarding and topaz dinghies. Or check out some tennis, volleyball, mountain biking, Muay Thai or cooking classes. The resort can help book day tours to the Phi Phi islands or a relaxing day at the spa.

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#33 – The Naka Island, Off the Coast of Phuket

The Naka Island, Off the Coast of Phuket

Manicured lawns, open concept villas boasting breathtaking views and elegant furnishings with contemporary decor, private pools in private gardens– all located on an exotic island in the Andaman Sea! Come enjoy delicious ice cream, juicy steaks, and fresh seafood for some straight-up indulgence!

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Best For: Luxury feels and luxury views
Where: Ko Naka, Thailand
What’s Around: Round-trip boat transfer to Ao Por Grand Marina is included for all guests. Try snorkeling, windsurfing, scuba diving, cooking classes, or lounge in the freshwater pool. Bang Rong Pier, Bang Pae Waterfall, wat Prathong and Two Heroines Monument are easy to access also.

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Recommended Villas in Koh Samui

 

#34 – The COAST Koh Samui

SENSIMAR Koh Samui Resort and Spa (The COAST Koh Samui)

My favorite hotel oh Koh Samui! Want some peace and quiet? You’ll enjoy the sound of ocean waves and drinks from the pool bar at this Adult-only resort. Rooms are modern, geometric, and decorated with fine linens and bright colors offering you ocean views and private terraces.

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Best For: Kid-free relaxation
Where: Mae Nam Beach, Ko Samui, Thailand
What’s Around: Mae Nam Pier, Fisherman village, Big Buddha and Lamai City Center are easily accessible. Or hang at the resort and enjoy a beverage at the pool, a refreshing massage, or unwind at the fitness center.
How Much: Starts at $122/night

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#35 – The Privilege Hotel Ezra Beach Club

The Privilege Hotel Ezra Beach Club

Looking for celebrity treatment at a lay-man cost? Look no further! Rooms are beautifully decorated, feature refreshing amenities (like a tub filled with flowers on your balcony!), and offer a relaxing space with great views.

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Best For: Amazing beach parties
Where: Bangrak Beach
What’s Around: So much! Big Buddha is near, Samui Crocodile farm. Bo Phut Pier, Chaweng beach, and Grandfather and Grandmother stone are also close!
How Much: Starts at $48/night

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#36 – Casa De Mar

Casa De Mar, Koh Samui Island

An oceanfront pool villa on a tropical island?! Is this real life? Lounge in your private pool while looking out onto the turquoise waters of Koh Samui. This villa is right on Chaweng Beach; the liveliest part of the island. Book with the link below and get a free airport tranfer from Koh Samui airport, too!

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Best For: A couple that likes peace & quite during the day and a party at night.
Where: Chaweng Beach
What’s Around: EVERYTHING! Chaweng is the party part of the island with beach bars, live music, and shopping

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#37 – Nikki Beach Resort & Spa

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa

Open concept bungalows offer unobstructed views of a blue sea and a landscaped pool while boasting dark wood finishings and contemporary furniture. Lounge on a poolside daybed, enjoy an outdoor spa treatment, or let loose at Nikki’s restaurant with a live DJ and signature cocktails!

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Best For: Sexy Beach Parties
Where: Lipa Noi Beach, Samui, Thailand
What’s Around: Beachfront access means kayaking and snorkeling galore. Or rent some bikes or a scooter and head to Hin Lad Waterfall, Nathon Local Market, Lamai Night Bazaar, or check out a one-of-a-kind snake farm!

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#38 – Fair House Villas & Spa

Fair House Villas & Spa

Enjoy views of emerald waters and mountainous skylines from the comfort of a modern-chic villa. Adorned with wood furnishings and updated amenities, it’ll be hard to leave the room to go check out their relaxing spa or private beach!

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Best For: Lovely solo beach trip
Where: Mae Nam Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
What’s Around: Fisherman’s village, Bo Phut Pier, Samui Crocodile farm, and Big Buddha are attractions to check out nearby. Or enjoy the golden sands of the resorts private portion of Mae Nam Beach.

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#39 – Tango Luxe Beach Villa Samui

Tango Luxe Beach Villa Samui

Luxurious decor, postcard views, central location; you’ll love these private pool villas for more than one reason. Enjoy tropical rooms with attention to detail and up-scale amenities, pampering spa treatments, and sunset views worth photographing!

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Best For: Wonderful Sunset Views
Where: Choeng Mon Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
What’s Around: The famous Big Buddha is close by to check out. Or head to the Samui Crocodile Farm, Fisherman’s Village or Bo Phut Pier.

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Koh Lanta Private Pool Villas

 

#40 – Rawi Warin Resort And Spa

Koh Lanta, Thailand (3) Rawi Warin Resort And Spa

Want 5-star luxury complete with 5 dining options, 4 outdoor pools, a library, a games room, leisure activities at your beck and call? Look no further! Enjoy spacious rooms with fine wood furnishings and flooring, private balconies, and stunning views of Klong Tob Bay.

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Best For: A luxurious secluded getaway for two
Where: Lanta Yai Island, Ko Lanta, Thailand
What’s Around: This is the place to enjoy the beaches of Thailand from a quiet location. Get lost in nature and check out the Mu Ko Lanta National Park nearby, check out Lanta Old Town, or take a ferry and start island hopping!

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#41 – Pimalai Resort & Spa

Pimalai Resort & Spa

Nestle into a lush tropical forest and enjoy the beautiful surroundings from your private balcony. Rooms decked with rich Thai fabrics, rattan curtains, teakwood floors, and high-end amenities offer the ultimate cultural relaxation station.

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Best For: Jungle meets Luxury feel
Where: Ba Kan Tiang Beach, Ko Lanta, Thailand
What’s Around: Mu Ko Lanta National Park is a close option. Island hopping is always an option, but your best bet is to try some snorkeling, diving, kayaking, bike renting, tennis courts, or relaxing in the library.

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#42 – Crown Lanta Resort & Spa

Crown Lanta Resort & Spa

Enjoy modern Thai style in both decor and architecture when you choose this luxury resort. Panoramic views from a private infinity pool, delicious beachside meals from a reggae bar, and lots of activities to enjoy are a few of the perks of staying here.

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Best For: Couples retreat with island views
Where: Ko Kwang Beach, Koh Lanta, Thailand
What’s Around: Make use of the free mountain bikes, kayaks, snorkeling gear, and gym for some easy fun. Or head out to island hop or check out Saladan Pier of Viking Cave.

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Villas in Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi

 

#43 – GLOW Elixir, Koh Yao Yai

Private Pool Villas, Koh Yao Yai + Koh Yao Noi GLOW Elixir, Koh Yao Yai

Surround yourself with bright colors and tropical landscape while you unwind to ocean views. Private villas span across manicured, green landscapes and offer open-air bathrooms, updated amenities, and access to outdoor bars and white sand beaches

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Best For: Quiet Island Fun
Where: Bo Le Bay, Koh Yao Yai, Thailand
What’s Around: Sunshine, pool-time, and beach fun galore! Or get out to check the Koh Sirey Temple, Laem Hin Pier, Old Phuket Town, or Thai Hua Museum.

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#44 – Saengsuree Villas Koh Yao Yai

Saengsuree Villas Koh Yao Yai

Private infinity pools, glass-railed balconies, and open concept rooms offer unobstructed views of crystal blue waters and mountainous landscapes. Simple yet elegant rooms, garden bar, and private beach are some of the reasons to choose Saengsuree Villas.

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Best For: Private Beachfront Getaway
Where: Koh Yao Yai, Thailand
What’s Around: Head out and explore Dragon Crest Mountain, Bang Rong Pier, Bang Pae Waterfall or set up a day of adventure with island hopping!

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#45 – Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi

Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi

Rustic rooms and white washed accessories offer a cozy western feel amongst eastern landscape. Come relax in refreshing pools, splash in fresh sea water, or get lost in luxury linen here at Cape Kudu hotel.

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Best For: Western vibes in eastern lands
Where: Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
What’s Around: Adjacent to white sand beaches, enjoy water sports at your leisure. Or rent a motorbike or taxi to check out Dragon Crest Mountain, Wat Laem Sak, Phra Nang Cave, or island hop to check out James Bond Island.

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#46 – Six Senses Yao Noi, Koh Yao Noi

Six Senses Yao Noi, Koh Yao Noi

Stimulate your senses and get ready for a wonderful experience that encompasses beautiful views, relaxing sounds, refreshing and crisp linens, delicious foods and all the adventure you hope for. Get lost in this 24 acre tropical jungle escape and experience all Thailand has to offer!

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Best For: Luxury Seclusion for two
Where: Ko Yao Noi, Thailand
What’s Around: Overlooking Phang Nga Bay, use a personal butler to get the full experience of relaxation. Or use the spa, gym, tennis courts, muay thai classes or bonfires on the beach!

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Koh Kut Island Villas

 

#47 – Rest Sea Resort Koh Kood, Koh Kut

Koh Kut Island Rest Sea Resort Koh Kood, Koh Kut

Quaint & Cozy villas boast modern decor, floor-to-ceiling glass doors offering an open concept into nature, private pools for personal fun, and views worth checking out. Enjoy yummy food, cute rooms, and a serene vibe.

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Best For: Manicured ocean-meets-land surroundings
Where: Ao Phrao Beach, Koh Kood, Thailand
What’s Around: Bask in ocean hammocks underneath the Thai sun, walk around and explore the surrounding nature, or head out to check Klong Chao Waterfall or Fisherman’s village.

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#48 – Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri

Talk about luxury! Intertwining nature and comfort, you’ll be blown away by the experience you can have amidst an unspoilt tropical jungle. Enjoy villas crafted of fine wood and full amenities, an open-air cinema, private white sanded beaches, and much more!

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Best For: Barefoot Intelligent Luxury
Where: Trat, Koh Kood, Thailand
What’s Around: You don’t need to leave. Enjoy an open air Cinema, a Chocolate and Ice Cream Parlour, an observatory, a treetop dining pod, fitness center, or unwind at the spa.

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#49 – High Season Pool Villa & Spa, Koh Kut

High Season Pool Villa & Spa, Koh Kut

Eco-friendly villas are equipped with private infinity pools and net-terraces for drinking cocktails amongst the trees. Integrating nature and innovation, you’ll find natural building materials and vegetables grown throughout the grounds for optimal green awareness.

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Best For: Nature lovers into preserving nature
Where: Klong Chao Beach, Koh Kood, Thailand
What’s Around: Aside from the nature surrounding you, go check out the Klong Chao Waterfall and Fisherman Village.

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Koh Lipe Island Villas

 

#50 – The Cliff Lipe, Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe Island The Cliff Lipe, Koh Lipe

Perch in a hammock on the porch, relax in a patio jacuzzi, dine on delicious foods, and soak up the sun in private infinity pools. The Cliff Lipe offers cozy modern rooms with wood furnishings, big bathtubs, and open concept floor plans.

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Best For: Cliff views and modern comforts
Where: Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe, Thailand
What’s Around: Snorkel or scuba to explore colorful reefs and exotic marine creatures. Ask about canoeing, or head out to the Lipe Floating Pontoon or Lipe Walking Street.

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Have you decided on what villa in Thailand to book?

Damn, that was a lot of private pool villas in Thailand – one of the longest blogs I’ve ever published! With 50 amazing options across Thailand, you’ll be hard pressed to run out of beautiful places to stay. Are you planning an island getaway or a peaceful trip to Chiang Mai? No matter where you travel in Thailand, a private villa truly amplifies the experiences you have. At the end of the day, you’ll have a comfy space to rest your head…and a beautiful sight to wake up to!

And after you’re done booking for Thailand, check out all the romantic private pool villas in Bali. If you thought Thailand’s hotels were beautiful…just wait until you see Bali.

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michelin star street food in bangkok

The 10 Michelin Star Street Food Stalls in Bangkok

As Good as it Gets: The 10 Michelin Star Street Food Stalls in Bangkok

As if the food scene in Thailand wasn’t good enough already, Michelin have been to town and have handed out Thailand’s first Michelin star for street food. They also acknowledged multiple other street food stalls that stand out from the rest for quality and taste, and that’s quite an accolade in a city where delicious food is on every corner!

If you’d like to sample the best that Bangkok has to offer then read on for the 10 street food stalls in Bangkok that have received the Michelin Guide seal of approval. Best of all, street food is home to many Thai dishes you can’t find back home!

thailand night market street food stall

Raan Ja Fai – One Michelin Star

The only street stall to receive a coveted star threatened to give it back after they became too popular, and couldn’t keep up with demand! ‘Sister Mole’ runs the place and is easy to spot by her trademark goggles that she wears to cook. She turns out delicious Thai classics like Tom Yum Goong, Drunken Noodles and Crab Omelettes night after night to critical acclaim. With dishes ranging from $12 up to $36 it’s not cheap, but Michelin sure thinks it’s worth the money!

Location: 327 Mahachai Road, intersection with Samranrat Road

Hours of Operation: 3pm – 2am Mon to Sat, closed Sunday

Phone: 02 223 9384

Jeh O Chula 

This down to earth place serves a banging Tom Yum, and the queues are always out the door. Expect to wait up to 2 hours if it’s really busy! The noodles are also recommended and the prices are reasonable, with dishes starting from $4 and not topping $10 anywhere on the menu. 

Location: Banthat Thong Road, 113 Charat Muang Road, Pathumwan, 10330

Hours of Operation: 5:30pm – 2am

Phone: 064 118 5888

Chakki 

This is the place to come for a huge plate of well-cooked noodles. The specialities are Beef Horfun and Wanton Noodles, and the customer has the choice of the type of noodle that goes into the dish. Pick flat noodles when you’re hungry and rice noodles for a lighter snack. Prices start from a reasonable $4, although some dishes are a bit pricey compared to similar places. 

Location: 1/35 Ratchawithi Road, Khwaeng Thanon Phaya Thai, Khet Ratchathewi, Maha Nakhon 10400

Hours of Operation: 11am – 3pm except closed first Monday of the month

Phone: 02 245 0849

Yentafo Convent 

Specialising in pink noodle soup, or Yen Tao Fo, this is a straight-forward place serving good food at very low prices. Pick from a traditional Yen Tao Fo or a slightly plainer minced pork version, and add crunchy vegetables for a fresh twist.  

Location: 36/3 Convent Road, Silom, Bang Rak, 10500

Hours of Operation: 7am – 5pm Mon – Fri; 7am – 3pm Sat & Sun

Sanguan Sri

Locals and visitors love this hole-in-the-wall place. Pretentious it isn’t, but delicious it is. Modern cafes pay a lot of money to look this ‘vintage’ but Sanguan Sri has managed it just by not moderning since the 1970’s! Prices start at around $7 and the menu rotates around Thai favorites like green curry and chicken massaman. 

Location: 59/1 Witthayu Road, Pathum Wan, 10330

Hours of Operation: 10am – 3pm Mon – Sat, closed Sun

Phone: 02 251 9378

Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai

Anyone who’s been to Malaysia will find the fried chicken noodles served at Ann Guay Tiew Kua familiar. The difference here is that they add in bonus extras like cuttlefish and squid, and there’s air con! Hallelujah. The runny egg sat on top of all their dishes adds a little bonus flavor. 

Location: 419 Luang Road, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, 10100

Hours of Operation: 4pm – 1am daily

Phone: 02 621 5199

Thip Samai Pad Thai

Thailand’s favorite dish, pad thai, is done to perfection here. Expect to wait a little at busy times but don’t worry, the fresh and spicy flavors of the cooking will erase those memories as soon as you sit down! Located just outside Chinatown, the kitchen is out front so you can get excited in advance seeing your dish being prepared.  

Location: 313 Maha Chai Road, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, 10200

Hours of Operation: 5:30pm – 1:30am daily

Phone: 02 221 6280

Polo Fried Chicken

Forget KFC and the rest, this is fried chicken as it’s meant to be eaten. Hot, crunchy, peppery and fresh, the chicken served up at Polo is a delight sat on top of a mound of sticky rice with a bowl of som tam alongside. It’s popular for good reason, with half a chicken starting from $4. 

Location: 137/1-3 Soi polo, Thanon Withayu, Wireless Road, Lumphini

Hours of Operation: 7am – 8:30pm daily

Phone: 02 655 8489

Sanyod

For a bit of Chinese flair, check out Sanyod with its top-rated roast duck specials. This place is run by a Cantonese immigrant family who spotted an opportunity to bring a little bit of Peking to the tropics, and the result is a wonderful fusion of Thai-Chinese flavors. The signature dish is chargrilled roast duck with a sticky, sweet sauce which is well worth the few dollars it costs.  

Location: 89 Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500

Hours of Operation: 10am – 9pm daily

Phone: 02 234 7968

Go Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice

Our last Michelin-mentioned eatery is Go Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice, which serves exactly what it sounds like! Unctuous pieces of roasted chicken are dished up on big steaming piles of fluffy white rice. This Hainanese dish has become popular across South-east Asia and this is a great rendition, with cucumber slices, chicken soup and a sticky glaze served alongside. 

Location: Poonam Market, 960-962 Phetchaburi Road, Soi 30, Pratunam

Hours of Operation: 5:30am – 3pm and 5pm – 3am daily

Phone: 081 779 7255

street food in Bangkok

Michelin star street food stalls in Bangkok are worth it.

In a country of such great food, these places really stand out as authentic examples of great Thai cuisine. The guys at Michelin know what they’re talking about, so hit a few of these restaurants and fall in love with the food of this amazing country all over again!

When you’re not stuffing your faces with delicious Thai food, consider some of the many Bangkok tours that are female friendly and safe!

Bangkok Temple

The Best (and Safest) Bangkok Tours for Solo Girls (Sept 2019)

Bangkok is full of tourist traps disguised as day tours

From “floating markets” that take you to a canal with literally 3 boats selling touristy shit to “private bus tours” that drop you off at Bangkok’s public bus terminal for you to fend for yourself…many popular Bangkok tour companies are actually just greedy assholes.

So Many Day Tours in Bangkok…

〤 Don’t give a shit about your safety
〤 Are only in it for fast money
〤 Don’t care that they have 1.2 stars on Google or TripAdvisor

The good news? It’s SO easy to avoid those nasty tours and experiences by taking 5 minutes to choose a reputable tour ahead of time….and that’s what we’re doing here & now.

The Best Bangkok Tours for Solo Girls…

✶ Are offered by reputable companies who LIVE to provide amazing experiences
✶ Are run by hosts or tour guides who love what they do
✶ Are created to connect YOU with Thai culture
✶ And some even offer the chance to meet other travelers from around the world

And to make things even simpler – I’m going to show you the ONLY two tour companies in Bangkok that you need to get a total culture, food, and fun balance.

PS. I receive absolutely ZERO commission from these tours. I’m telling you about them because this is the way that I travel and explore the world as a solo female traveler.

#1 – AirBnb Experiences in Bangkok

Psst. Sign up to Airbnb using this link and get $15 off experiences + $40 off accommodation. 

The best thing about Airbnb Experiences is this: Each tour is HONESTLY reviewed by unbiased guests who have taken these tours. Unlike TripAdvisor where companies hire their friends to leave fake reviews (it’s a rampant problem, don’t trust TripAdvisor blindly) – Airbnb Experience Reviews immediately show you which tours are worth your time.

The tours are easy to book before you travel. Some are private for a personal experience. Some are in a group giving you the chance to make new friends.

Best Bangkok Food Tours on Airbnb

Cycle and Snack through Hidden Bangkok: Burn your calories while you stuff your face via an active food tour through the back streets of Bangkok.

Street Food 101 in Local Bangkok: Your host, Dwight, is a foodie legend in Bangkok who will take you on an epic food tour Bangkok’s best markets and street stalls.

Bangkok food tour

Airbnb.com

Best Bangkok Culture Tours on Airbnb

Bangkok Boat Tour – Living Along the Canal: See how locals live by exploring local life along the canals in a longtail boat, hidden local temples and when the tides are right, through a small floating market.

Cook a Thai Feast: The Courageous Kitchen is a non-profit cooking school here in Thailand inspiring marginalized youth through the power of food! Shop at a local market then back to the kitchen for a Thai cooking class!

Cooking Class

Airbnb.com

Best Bangkok Tours for Solo Travelers on Airbnb

Sukhumvit Bar Crawl with Petz: Want to explore Bangkok’s nightlife with rooftop bars and fancy cocktails, but don’t want to do it alone? This is that.

Bangkok Tour + Photographer: The least touristy tour there ever was through hidden alleys and local temples…plus a professional photography session for the gram.

Airbnb Tour

Airbnb.com

 

 

#2 – Bangkok Urban Adventures

Girl in Bangkok

Follow Hope on IG @__hautemess

Guaranteed, the most professionally executed tours in Bangkok to make you feel safe, special, and treated like a travel princess…all while learning 5 days-worth of Thailand culture in one balanced day of adventure.

The tour guides from Bangkok Urban Adventures are locals who can give you a unique insight into Bangkok culture, history, and food.

The Best Bangkok Tours Offered by Bangkok Urban Adventures

Bangkok’s Chinatown Sights & Bites: One of my faves! Take a guided tour through “old Bangkok” while eating authentic Bangkok street food and visiting ancient temples.

Temple & River of Kings: The ultimate Bangkok tour and one of the best temple tours in Bangkok! See the Grand Palace, The Reclining Buddha, and experience a long tail boat on the river with a super friendly Thai guide!

Bangkok by Bike: Get off the beaten tourist path as you cycle through Bangkok’s back streets, visiting temples and passing smiling locals who are happily surprised to see you!

Tuk Tuk Experience: The best way to sightsee throughout Bangkok without having to walk in the heat for hours at a time.

Thailand Tuk Tuk

 

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Can’t decide which Bangkok day tour to take?

Lemme help ya. 

To see the best of Bangkok in one day…

take the Bangkok Temples and River of Kings Tour.

It’s one of the top tours in Bangkok, especially for solo travelers. 

You get temples, boats, and an authentic peek into day-to-day Bangkok life – all from a local English-speaking Thai guide.

This tour offers a calm break from the bustling city with a peaceful long tail boat ride through the Choa Phraya River canals, enjoy the beauty of the statues, murals, and Emerald Buddha at the Grand Palace, and marvel at the size of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho!

Wat Pho

Here is what to expect on this unforgettable Bangkok Temple Tour, plus some tips on how to get the most out of the day!

 

Meet your tour guide at 8:30 am at the lobby of Nouvo City Hotel, 2 Samsen Rd, Soi 2

Plan to leave the hotel by 8:45 am, after a friendly briefing, and walk to the pier to hop in a riverboat!

 

How to get to Nouvo City Hotel in Bangkok:

Option 1: Take the BTS to Phaya Thai or Ratchathewi Station (26 – 44 Baht), then hop on a motorbike (80 baht/person) taxi or order a GrabTaxi from the BTS to Nouvo City Hotel.

Option 2: Order a GrabCar from Khao San Road to Nouvo City Hotel (about 80 Baht)

 

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Part 1: River of Kings Canal Tour

A quick walk from the hotel will take you to Santi Chai Prakan Park, home of the Phra Sumen Fort. Here you will board a colorful long-tail boat in Bangkok’s the Chao River! This river is used as a highway for Bangkokians headed to work and into the city to play…as many locals live along the canals.

You’ll pass residential life through narrow channels where you can see Thai-style houses on stilts, temples, and locals. You’ll then visit a small floating market, all from the comfort of your boat!

You’ll also make a quick stop to buy a loaf of bread (10 baht) to feed the massive catfish that rise up from the depths of the river. 

  • Canal Tour: About 1 hour
  • The Thai longtail boat is covered to protect you from the sun, but it’s still important to wear sunscreen and drink lots of water!
  • Look for Thai locals fishing from the docks and try to spot some monitor lizards.

Part 2: The Grand Palace

Grand Palace

Your longtail boat will arrive Chao Phraya River Port where you’ll disembark and start your Bangkok walking tour! To exit the pier, you’ll walk through an old local market built on wooden stilts over the river. This is a great spot to grab a water (or beer), buy some postcards and of course, use the bathroom!

Once outside, you’ll start your journey to the opulent Grand Palace – formerly home to King Rama I – King Rama V, and is now used to host royal ceremonies and guests!

  •  Walk from port to Grand Palace: 10 minutes
  •  The Grand Palace Tour: 1.5 hours
  •  Drink at the market: 10 – 20 baht / Restroom: 5 baht (10 baht if you need tissue)
  •  Visit Wat Phra Kaew, which is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand and see the Emerald Buddha, carved from a single block of jade. *Must remove shoes*
  •  Take a rest at the Golden Place to get coffee and snacks (30 – 100 baht), where the food has been grown by local Thai farmers to be sold at the shop

Part 3: Wat Pho

Wat Pho

You’ve got to see it to believe it. Photos will never do this 46-meter long reclining Buddha justice! Wat Pho is the only Buddha of this size, covered in pure gold leaf with the mother-of-pearl illustrations decorating Buddha’s feet.

Purchase a bowl of coins at the entrance of the temple (20 baht), dropping them into the 108 bronze bowls along the walls – making a wish with each drop.

Outside, You’ll wander into the 4 chapels with over 300 golden Buddha images and see lines of Buddha statues from other parts of Thailand. Stop at the small museum just inside to view the model of Wat Pho, (softly) hit the ancient gong, see the prayer area, and place gold leaf on the Buddha statues.

  •   Walk from Grand Palace to Wat Pho: 10 minutes
  •   Fruit from street vendors: 20 – 40 baht / Drink at Cafe: 45 – 65 baht
  •   Wat Pho Tour: 1.5 hours

The tour will finish after Wat Pho. Stay and get a massage at the temple (which was also Thailand’s first public university, now known as a center for traditional massage and medicine) or allow your guide to direct you back on track towards your hotel. 

OR if you’re hungry, head to Baan ThaTien Cafe and try the green curry (60 – 80 baht) and the Thai tea with lime (60 baht).

Best Travel Tips for the Bangkok Temple Tour:

    • Wear sunscreen
    • Stay hydrated! Bring a collapsible water bottle and fill up at the temples
    • Dress Modestly: No bare shoulders, tank tops, or short shorts. If you prefer to wear shorts & tank tops on your adventure day, that’s okay – wraps can be rented from the Grand Palace right when you enter.
      • Dress requirements to enter the Grand Palace are very strict. Please ensure your clothes cover your shoulders and waist (scarves or shawls worn over sleeveless tops are not permitted). Trousers must be ankle-length, and skirts below the knee. Please do not wear ripped, torn or see-through clothes or items that are very tight fitting such as yoga pants or leggings. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot and humid Bangkok climate. -BANGKOK URBAN ADVENTURES

    • Be prepared to take off your shoes before entering the temples
    • Wear supportive walking sandals!
    • Bring a bag that’s comfortable to carry all day.
    • Remember flushable tissue for the restrooms (not provided in many Thai restrooms)
    • Ask your Thai tour guide for food recommendations in the area!

Total Cost: Around $80 USD – Cost includes boat ride and tickets for temples. Bring extra cash for drinks and food plus, transportation to and from the tour!

Total Tour Time: 4 – 5 hours

 

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Before You Travel to Thailand!!!

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Get your copy of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide: Thailand

Check out my Mini Thailand Travel Guide

Visit the Packing Guide for Thailand

Don’t forget to add me on Instagram and tag me in your travel photos  @SoloGirlsTravelGuide

 

Travel Requires a Good Audiobook!

Sign up for Audible and get a free book for those long plane rides and bus rides.

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scuba girl

8 Best Scuba Diving Courses in Southeast Asia (July 2019)

Mermaids, come hither!

Swim deep where the wifi, traffic, gossip, and pressure of human life will never exist.

I’ve got 8 Best Scuba Diving Courses in Southeast Asia – all of which are located in the best destinations for solo female travelers.
Becoming Scuba Certified sounds intimidating…but the courses are just 4 glorious days of learning, practice, and diving which anyone with two legs (and zero inner ear problems) can do.

As Southeast Asia is a tropical region with islands and beaches…you can obviously expect to find hundreds of dive schools in Asia where you can get PADI or SSI certified.

But wait! Not all scuba schools are created equal!

Beware of Scuba Schools that are “the most popular”. I made the mistake of diving at the trendiest scuba school in Koh Tao where they valued quantity over quality. This resulted in improper instruction + me having a busted eardrum that stopped me from diving for years (don’t worry, it’s all better now).

From the most cost-effective and SAFEST courses that offer some seriously gorgeous dive spots, get scuba certified with one of these highly-reputable scuba diving schools in Southeast Asia.

Let’s dive right in … (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

#1 –  The Cheapest – Bali, Indonesia

scuba bali

No surprises here – Bali is one of the most fun/beautiful/tropical islands in Southeast Asia…which also offers cheap open-water diving courses.

Adventure Divers Bali, located in Amed, gives you the opportunity to dive amongst some of the most gorgeous corals I’ve seen in Asia + WWII shipwrecks. Enjoy the underwater coral gardens and the abundant marine life where new species are discovered each year!

Called “the island of a thousand temples,” there is so much culture and history to absorb – both on land and in the water.

Bali is located in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago, with an easy-to-access international airport!

And Bali is one of the safest places for solo female travelers.

How Long is the Class:  4 days
How Much:  4,661,000 IDR ($330 USD)

Before you go to Bali, get your copy of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide: Bali

#2 – The Second Cheapest – Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao Island in Thailand is famous for offering the lowest prices for scuba diving courses + stunning dive spots. This is where I did my Scuba Training, and I loved it!

Crystal Dive offers a certification course which won’t cost you an arm and a leg – just $352 for the Full 4-Day Beginners Course.

Koh Tao is home to an abundance of marine life and kaleidoscopic of corals with a diverse collection of dive spots meaning…every dive is different! Koh Tao also offers frequent sightings of the largest fish in the world – the whale shark!

With clear water, white-sanded beaches, cheap food, and tons of shopping… spending 4-5 days on Koh Tao is a dream come true!

Once your scuba course is finished, you’ll want to blow off some steam! Move on to nearby Koh Phangan or Koh Samui, which are the better party & nightlife destinations (Koh Tao nightlife I don’t recommend for solo girls anymore – read my Thailand Islands and Beaches travel guide for more on that).

How Long is the Class:  4 days
How Much:  11,000 THB (352 USD) + 400-800 THB ($6-$26 USD) /night for accommodation

 

Before you go to Thailand, get your copy of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide: Thailand 

 

#3 – The Most Exotic – Lembeh Island, Indonesia

Underwater Shot

Lembeh Straits is a resort located on Lembeh Island and operated by Two Fish Divers. Popular for being the muck diving capital of the world, Lembeh Straits will take you on an unforgettable underwater journey that won’t break the bank.

Muck diving features sandy slopes and limited visibility for a thrilling adventure. Get a peek of what to expect via this amazing underwater documentary here!

Lembeh Island is one of the rare spots with sightings of critters like pygmy sea-horses, hairy frogfish, and dazzling cuttlefish PLUS shipwrecks.

The resort is located on a private beach which opens up onto breathtaking tropical vistas. The bungalows are spacious and comfortable. The dive sites are nearby.

All of this makes Lembeh Straits an idyllic and relaxed spot to learn to scuba dive + is one of the best scuba diving spots in the world.

How Long is the Class:  4 days
How Much:  5,250,000 IDR (369 USD) OR 7,500,000 IDR with accommodation (526 USD)

 

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#4 – The Most Convenient – Phuket, Thailand

Thailand is one of the best countries to travel alone; and Phuket is one of the most convenient islands to reach from the US.

The island of Phuket is the biggest in Thailand with an international airport, making it an easy island to fly in and dive ASAP.

Racha Noi Island and Racha Yai Island are the most visited islands for rookie drivers. Both of these islands swarm with wildlife – you can see manta rays, stingrays, garden eels, and many more.

In Siam Bay, in the north part of Racha Yai, you can also spot some statutes beautifully overgrown with sea-weed and marine life. A truly eerie and mystical experience!

Sunrise Divers is one of the best dive shops in Phuket, offering a wonderfully-balanced 3-day and/or 4-day dive course for beginner open-water divers.

How Long is the Class:  3 or 4 days
How Much: From 14,900 THB (477 USD) for a 3-day course to 17,900 THB (573 USD) for a 4-day course.

The above prices vary depending on the number of open-water dives. The prices mentioned are the lowest and the highest for both courses.

Before you go to Phuket, get your copy of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide: Thailand Islands and Beaches

#5 – The Least Tourism – Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang has been gaining popularity in recent years but it’s still not as densely crowded with tourists as other diving destinations in Southeast Asia.

The coastal city of Nha Trang is home to some fascinating on-land history – so fascinating that most tourists don’t even think about jumping in the water. This is great for you if you want a more personal dive experience.

Rainbow Divers Vietnam will offer you a unique and intimate dive experience in their Nha Trang Dive Center.

Newbie divers can expect to see cuttlefish, octopi, and lionfish during their course.

Your PADI Open Water Diver course makes for a refreshing escape away from the big crowds, while giving you the pleasure of hanging with super cool and friendly dive instructors.

 

How Long is the Class:  3 or 4 days
How Much:  Starts from 400 USD

Before you go to Vietnam, get your copy of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide: Vietnam

#6 – Best for a Quick Trip – Singapore + Tioman Island

If you’re looking for a quick and easy course to wedge in between other traveling, ScubaDo has you covered. They organize shorter diving courses in Tekek Jetty, Tioman Island; an area you can access from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

Tioman is the biggest island in the Malaysian Peninsula which is regarded as one of the most beautiful destinations in Southeast Asia. Its rainforests, beaches, and crystal water will give paradise a new dimension.

Ps. Singapore is also one of the safest places for solo female travelers (on this planet)!

How Long is the Class:  2 ½ days
How Much:  From 459 SGD (337 USD) without accommodation OR SGD 589 (433 USD) with accommodation.

The price with accommodation also includes 5 meals a day. The price without accommodation has no meals included. Transport services can be purchased additionally.

 

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#7 – Most ‘Off the Beaten Path’ – Mojo Island, Indonesia

One of those solo travel vacations that you’ll tell your kids about.

Pulau Moyo Island is a mostly uninhabited island with a rugged coastline. It is home to pristine beaches, lush forests, and dramatic waterfalls. The life on the island is extremely simple and self-sufficient and you can truly enjoy your escape from a bustling city routine.

Davy Jones’ Locker can offer you exclusive diving courses in this best-kept secret of Indonesia. You will enjoy encounters with macro critters and splendidly colorful coral seabed. Pulau Moyo is an experience that not many have tasted. The diving center can also offer transfers from Sumbawa airport to the island and back. Accommodation is not included in the prices.

How Long is the Class:  3 days
How Much:  5,700,000 IDR (400 USD) without accommodation and transfers
Transfers:  1,600,000 IDR (112 USD) in each direction
Accommodation:  Starts from 200,000 IDR (14 USD) per night in Maleo Moyo resort; free breakfast included

YES. You do need travel insurance.

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#8 – The Best Instructors – The Gili Islands, Indonesia

The Gili Islands are one of the best diving destinations in Indonesia. Located in the famous Coral Triangle, they are also home to the largest diversity of marine creatures on the planet. The Gili Islands are called “the turtle capital of the world” as you can spot green and hawksbill turtles on almost every dive.

There are also more rare creatures to be seen, such as reef sharks or ghost pipefish. Whale sharks, mola mola, and manta rays are also known to swim around, so keep your senses sharp.

With Blue Marlin Dive you’ll be in safe hands since they sport award-winning instructors who teach in multiple languages. As a popular diving spot, The Gili Islands attract only the best in their field.

Accommodation is not included in the price, but Blue Marlin Air can offer dive & stay packages at discounted prices for students.

How Long is the Class:  3 days
How Much:  5,500,000 – 6,000,000 IDR (385-420 USD) without accommodation

*Accommodation varies between 550,000 IDR (39 USD) and 950,000 (67 USD) per night depending on the season.

 

Conclusion – 8 Best Scuba Diving Courses in Southeast Asia

You can easily spend under $500 for your Scuba Diving Course + accommodation in Southeast Asia by diving with one of the 8 scuba schools listed here! Each scuba school is located in a safe area, staffed by licensed professionals, offers the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful nature in the world…and has you walking away with a Scuba Diving Certification which you can use to scuba dive all over the world – forever!


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Psst. Don’t pay cash/debit for big-ticket items like Scuba Courses!

Read my “3 Best Travel Credit Cards & Travel Debit Cards” before you spend on travel!

 

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***Disclaimer*** Every time you book through a link in this post, The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide gets a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support keeps this site alive! Xoxo

Australia Music Festival

5 Best Music Festivals around the World in 2020 (July 2019)

Oh no…another excuse to travel.

We all know Coachella as one of the most epic music festivals of all time. Now, what would Coachella be like in another country? Exotic in Costa Rica? Wild in Australia? Spiritual in Bali? Yes, yes, and yes.

Now is the time to start planning your big international festival trip for 2020. That mean’s you’ve got time to save cash, time to collect the crew, and time to book your music festival hotels.

These 5 Best Music Festivals around the World in 2020 are approved for solo female trips and solo travel destinations!

Scared of traveling alone? A music festival is one of the best trips for single women and solo travelers who want to meet people on their international adventure! Shit, the whole purpose of a music festival is to connect with new people and make new friends. You will be welcomed with open arms, my love!

So, get your passport ready for the 5 best international music festivals in 2020.
(Don’t worry. Fyre Festivals not Included).

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#1 – Jai Thep Festival, Thailand

Pack your bags for 3-days of DJs, workshops, and live bands in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Musicians and festival goers from all over the world will gather in Northern Thailand for Jai Thep‘s 5th annual music festival with an artsy twist. Alongside bands & DJs covering everything genre from Indie to Thai Molam – Jai Thep also offers workshops to help you tap into a deeper level of self.

The immersive festival includes interactive 3D installations and places to create art or collaborate with other amateur or professional artists. Listless wanderers who roam around the festival’s property are promised magical surprises, wondrous art and good-vibes music that speak to the traveler spirit.

Ps. Thailand is one of the best destinations for solo female travel!

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Where:  Chiang Mai, Thailand
When:  31 January – 2 February 2020
Prices:  1,800 THB ($58 USD); discounts for students at 1,600 THB ($51 USD)
Accommodation:  1,000 – 2,600 TBH ($32 – 83 USD) for basic 1 or 2 person camping, or deluxe 2 person camping.

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#2 – Envision Festival, Costa Rica

Mind-opening. Surreal. Sexy. Under the motto “The Original Jungle Festival”, Envision Festival is the OG of music festival meets nature.

On the Costa Rican coast where ocean waves gently kiss the jungle’s very end, you’ll experience ecstatic music vibes across diverse music genres!

Envision’s pledge is to act according to fundamental principles as permaculture, health, movement, acceptance, and community, and conduct the event in line with its eco-initiatives. So, beyond the music, prepare to be submerged in more than just music while connecting with traveler souls from around the world.

Where:  Uvita, Costa Rica
When:  17 – 24 February 2020 for a full 7-day experience
Prices:  From $319 USD (without accommodation) to $2,099 USD for a VIP ticket for the event + accommodation in a private bamboo suite. There are also several packages – festival admission ticket + accommodation to choose from
Accommodation:  Tent rentals (from 250USD per person); bungalows (from 1,300 USD per person); bamboo suites (from 1,500 USD per person); VIP tree house (3,497 USD).

#3 – BaliSpirit Festival, Bali

BaliSpirit Festival is the ultimate music, yoga, and inner work festival. You will undergo a week of transformation through the realignment of your harmonious self and healing practices to make you feel the best and most energized version of yourself…with music as your medicine.

You will be invited to forgo your digital alter-ego and make new acquaintances, embrace novelty ideas, reconnect with nature, and restore your inner balance. Through meditation, movement, music, and various classes you will fully experience the stretching of your mind and soul, and expand your wisdom to face the challenges and surprises the world has in store for you.

You can stop by the lively daytime music stage with a mind-boggling range of musical and dance performances; alternatively you can book a private session with a practitioner in alternative medicine, personal growth, or spiritual well-being in one of the healing huts; or visit the Community Pavilion for invigorating morning yoga, seminars, or movement workshops.

Bali is one of the safest countries to travel alone! Come solo, leave part of something bigger than you.

Where:  Ubud, Bali
When:  24 – 31 March 2020
Prices:  $30 for 1 night / $150 for an 8-day pass
Accommodation:  Not included. Check out my best recommended Ubud hotels in The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide: Bali.

 

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#4 – Wide Open Space, Australia

A music festival in the desert certainly has an adventurous ring to it, right? Well, the place is the MacDonnell ranges in Australia, the time is early summer, and the event is Wide Open Space Festival.

Wide Open Space pays homage to the Arrernte people – long-time natives and custodians of these parts of Central Australia.

You will experience 3 unforgettable days with music performances across 3 stages, a juicy number of workshops, dedicated space for children and Market Place offering a variety of food, crafts, and all sorts of delights…plus, Australian Accents!

Truly one of the best and most vibrant music festivals in Australia for solo travelers. Just pack sunscreen, please!

Where:  Ross River Resort, Central Australia
When:  Early May 2020
Prices:  To be announced soon! Check here
Accommodation:  Camping on the festival side of the river (if you don’t mind a louder environment while there’s action on the stages); quieter camping option on the resort side of the river; private cabins; or camping in Trephina Gorge National Park campground 15 km away from the festival site.

* Warning from the sponsors:  “May in Central Australia is the perfect time to experience the extremes of desert weather. Days can range from dry-warm to quite hot, while nights can be really fricken cold. Pack accordingly…”

 

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#5 – SXM Festival

Only 4 years old, SXM Festival has already gained fame as one of the best events for electronic music worldwide. The festival spreads across an inventive variety of stages – beaches, villas, boats, and nightclubs.

The venues are handcrafted stunning pieces of art made out of 90% recycled materials. The performers are established electronic, house, and techno artists, as well as rising stars ready to conquer the music scene.

The island of St. Martin itself is a tasty piece of paradise, popular with its tropical beauty, lush jungles, fusion food, and electrifying nightlife. Night pool parties till dawn, or sunrise cocktail parties till noon – the choice is yours.

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at that SXM 2019 Aftermovie.

Where:  Saint Martin, The Caribbean
When:  11 – 15 March 2020
Prices:  295 – 595 EUR; you can additionally buy a 5-day transportation pass for 97.03 EUR which offers unlimited travels between the festival’s main venues and selected hotels during the whole festival.
Accommodation:  Not included. Find the best festival hotels near SXM Festival on Booking.com

 

Conclusion

Travel is possible, even on a budget. The key is to set a financial goal ahead of time – like these festivals. Pick your festival, see how many months you have until you travel, and start your cash fund by setting aside a cash goal every month. Start racking up your travel points with travel credit cards, too.

And maybe this speaks to you: Music festivals are the best trips for single women and men. Just sayin’.

 

***Disclaimer*** Every time you book through a link in this post, The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide gets a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support keeps this site alive! Xoxo

 

Before you Travel!

Check the Expert Packing & Prep List

Get a Proper Travel Credit Card

Bring The #1 Travel Camera

Pack Best Travel Makeup Products for Humid Weather

Have fun kids!

 

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Hua Lamphong Train Station in Bangkok

How to Take the Sleeper Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

This is the Ultimate Guide on How to Take the Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

 

Also known as

The best adult sleepover you will ever attend.

There are snacks. Friends. Warm blankets. Adventure bathrooms. Soothing rocking train beds.

The train to Chaing Mai is a full ½ day journey which is cheaper than flying and it saves you spending money on 1-night’s accommodation.

BARGAIN.

Pack a water. Put on your comfy pants. The cozy train is waiting!

Step 1: Book your Ticket

Stupid Inside Scoop: Travel agencies take advantage of a really nonsensical system and buy up all the tickets weeks in advance.

Translation: You can’t just go to the train station and buy a ticket when you’re ready to travel.

Instead, you must buy a ticket on 12Go.Asia at least 1 WEEK IN ADVANCE during a normal week in Thailand or 2-3 WEEKS IN ADVANCE during big travel weeks like Songkran or Christmas.

The best train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai IS…

  • Train #9 leaving Bangkok Train Station (Hua Lamphong Station) at 6.10pm
  • Arrives in Chiang Mai at 7.15am
  • Purchase a Second-Class Car Ticket
  • BOTTOM bunk for ultimate comfort
  • There’s also a “ladies only car” if you prefer

Don’t worry if you can only book a top bunk in the first-class car, you’re going to survive. You’ll just be a bit cold so bring a sweater.

Here’s what a train ticket looks like!

The train’s last stop is Chiang Mai (written in the top box on the right).

The passenger (Hey @jessicatamara86) is going to Ayutthaya (written in the center top box).

Step 2: Pick up your Ticket

The 12Go.Asia office is located right across from the train station.

To get, take the underground MRT and get off at Hua Lamphong Station.

Take Exit 3 

Walk straight for 30 meters, and you’ll see a sign for the 12Go.Asia office on the left.

Go inside, hand em’ your passport and they’ll give you a physical ticket.

The office is open every day 10am – 8pm.

If you have a train outside these hours, pick up your ticket the day before.

Got all that?

Step 3: Dinner & Snacks

Across from Hua Lamphong, there is a row of restaurants next to a 7-Eleven.

You want to have a full belly when you get on the train. Go to 511 Café for some classic Thai food served by the most wonderful staff!

Eat dinner and have a beer with a wonderful view of Hua Lamphong train station right across the street. Head over to the train 35 minutes before departure. BUT FIRST! You need snacks, water, and breakfast (at least, I need breakfast).

Order a fried rice or Pad Thai or chocolate pancake that you can easily take on the train and eat on a shaky car.

Then go to 7-Eleven and grab a BIG water, and maybe some M&Ms, bag of chips, and peanuts.

Step 4: Head to the Train / Sleepover Adventure

Go into the train station lobby and walk through the main hall. You’ll see the entrance for the trains.

Welcome to Train Paradise.

It actually smells really nice in here…

There will be a sign that CLEARLY says “Chaing Mai” so no need to get overwhelmed.

However, just to simmer my paranoias – I always ask a train official (hanging out somewhere) to look at my ticket and confirm that I’m getting on the right train.

Step 5: Find your spot

When you get on the train, all of the beds will actually still be chairs. 

1st class car

Train #9

2nd class train

Train #13

Find your chair with your number on it and have a seat.

Settle in and put your bag down in one of the bag racks. Don’t worry. Your bag is safe.

In a couple of hours, a train worker will come by and assemble your bed!!!! The blankets are usually still warm! 

Important Things to Know

  • There are bathrooms in between cars. They are usually squatty toilets too – so now peeing is like a carnival game! Can you get your pee in the hole?!?!?
  • Some trains have snack cars! They have omelets, peanuts, and soda.
  • Ladies will come through the cars with a breakfast menu, in case you’ve forgotten to bring food. You can sign up for food the night before and it will be served to you later. There’s only one option and its meh.
  • Alcohol is not allowed on the train

Step 5:  Wake Up Sleepy Head

About 45 minutes before you arrive in Chaing Mai, the train workers will come through and wake ya’ll up. The beds will be made back into chairs.

Chiang Mai is the last stop on the train, so don’t worry – it’s impossible to miss your stop!

Step 6:  Arrive in Chiang Mai

The Chaing Mai train station is small. Walk your lil butt on outta there. You’ll be greeted by lots of taxi drivers and Songtheaw (collective truck taxis) drivers.

The train station is located about 3km outside the city center, making for a smooth journey to your hotel.

To get to your hotel

Option 1: Public Transport

Songthaew: 50 baht (although, they might push you to 80 baht). You’ll pile in the back of a truck, tell the driver your location and they’ll drive around town dropping people off one-by-one. Sometimes the drivers get lazy and drop you off in the general area. I say, nooooo to that. Don’t get out until you see your hotel. Get your money’s worth, boo.

Tuk Tuk: 150 baht directly to your hotel (plus a fun drive)

Taxi: 200 baht with air conditioning! Best for big luggage.

Option 2: Grab Taxi

Important: Grab Taxi drivers are not welcome in the Train Station territory, so you’re going to have to be stealth. To get in a Grab Taxi without drawing attention to what you’re going, cross the street and go to a local café before you call your Grab to avoid conflict. Try to be out of sight of the train station.

How Much: 80-200 baht depending on your hotel’s location

Easy, right?


Here are a collection of Thailand Train Photos, in case Chiang Mai isn’t where you’re going!

 

This fancy-ass train (Train #9) has this super helpful sign.

 

Here are what some first-class train cars look like on Train #9 & Train #7

@Lauren0vigus

@hjhswinnerton

Things to keep in mind if you choose the first class cars…

✗  You’ll be in closed quarters with a stranger if you’re traveling solo.

✗  You won’t get to watch the views from your bed (like you do in the 2nd class bottom bunk).

For these reasons, I always choose 2nd class for the open layout and sense of comfort.

 

That’s it!

Don’t forget to tag me in your train journey photos

@SoloGirlsTravelGuide

Girl under palm trees in bali

13 Best Cities for Digital Nomads (2019)

Screw the 9-5 rat race

Grab your laptop and work remotely as you live in exotic, affordable cities with fast wifi, incredible food, and an affordable cost of living.

#13 – Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria apartment

 

For those Digital Nomads who are looking for a healthy balance of work and travel, Sofia is the perfect spot to call home. Take a bus to Greece, hop on a train to Turkey, jump on a quick flight to Italy – there are so many cool destinations nearby. AND the fact that Bulgaria has one of the fastest internet connections in the world certainly doesn’t hurt. 

Average Rent in Sofia: $400 USD / Month

Best Coworking Space: Puzl CowOrKing

 

#12 – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO

 

Most western passports get you a 6-month Visa for Mexico, no questions asked. Grab your laptop, pack your suitcase, and move to Puerto Vallarta- a small beach town with plenty of places to eat, party, and work. Great for solo Digital Nomads or young couples who enjoy working hard during the day and partying at night. There are plenty of places to work here, including a Starbucks (*gasp*)!

Average Rent in Puerto Vallarta: $250 USD / Month

Best Coworking Space: Vallarta Cowork

 

#11 – Taipei, Taiwan

 

A city unlike any other, the laptop lifestyle is so enjoyable in Taipei. With a seamlessly organized bus and Skytrain system, a relatively non-existent crime rate, an abundance of high-speed internet spaces for work, and an overflow of night markets with cheap & delicious food…it’s not long until Taipei becomes the new hot spot for Digital Nomads. 

Average Rent in Taipei: $350 USD / Month

Best Coworking Space: Kafnu

 

#10 – Danang, Vietnam

Danang, Vietnam Street Food

 

A beach town full of cafes and street food; it’s easy to live a productive yet laid back lifestyle in Danang. Join the fast-growing Digital Nomad community in Danang where you collaborate, cowork, and attend small conferences to grow your business. There’s always some Digital Nomad meet up happening. Get amongst it to get your wheels spinning.

Average Rent in Danag: $450 per month

Best Coworking Space: DNC

 

#9 – Prague, Czech Republic

 

Prague is famous for its rich history and wild nightlife. Get inspired on during your “work days” and let loose on your days off. Cost of living is a bit more expensive than some of the other Digital Nomad destinations on this list, but you get what you pay for with gorgeous architecture, western standards of living, and an open-minded culture.

Average Rent in Prague: $700

Best Coworking Space: Locus Workspace

 

 

#8 – Plovdiv, Bulgaria

 

One of the oldest cities in the world has some of the best Wifi on the planet! Cobblestone streets and Roman ruins next to craft beer houses and H&M – Plovdiv offers the best of both worlds for Digital Nomads. Here, it’s easy to make friends with locals and expats while getting into a comfortable work routine. Plovdiv is an awesome choice for someone looking to create a life of their own.

Average Rent in Plovdiv: $240

Best Coworking Space: Cat and Mouse Co-working Space

 

#7 – Hanoi, Vietnam

 

Embrace the motorbike culture in Hanoi as you jump on the back of a motorbike taxi to head to your favorite coffee shop – laptop and earbuds in tow. Digital Nomads can work with a lake view one day and tuck themselves in a cozy coffee nook the next. Hanoi is such an easy city to get around, that exploring with your laptop is half the fun.

Average Rent in Hanoi: $300 USD / Month

Best Coworking Space: Toong Coworking Space

 

#6 – Medellin, Colombia

Medellin, Colombia at night

 

Now that Pablo Escobar & Co. are gone, Medellin has become a safe and comfortable city for locals and expats. Female friendly, LGBT safe, and open to racial diversity- Medellin has the potential to become the ultimate melting pot of digital nomads in South America.

Average Rent in Medellin: $400 USD/ Month

Best Coworking Space: La Casa Redonda Coworking Space

 

 

#5 – Bangkok, Thailand

Gold Buddha in Thailand, Bangkok

 

Move into a brand-new condo building with a gorgeous pool, private gym, library working space, and most likely a 7/11 attached for those mid-workday snacks, starting at $300 a month in Bangkok. You can get all of this plus super-fast wifi all while being smack dab in the thick of markets, street food, shopping, and expat nightlife.

Average Rent in Bangkok: $280 USD/ Month

Best Coworking Space: DraftBoard

 

#4 – Kiev, Ukraine

 

Hunker down in Kiev and get some serious work done. When you want to get off the expat path and away from the trendy coworking spaces, Kiev is a fabulous option with fast wifi, a decent level of English speaking locals, and cheap cost of living! Your biggest expenses will be rent- after that, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the cost of food, transportation, and entertainment.

Average Rent in Kiev: $475

Best Coworking Space: Chasopys Creative Space

 

#3 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

Eat your way through the “work day” in Ho Chi Minh City – a Digital Nomad destination that gives your cheap street food options everywhere you turn. And with super relaxed visa restrictions, you can theoretically stay as long as you’d like – with a few border runs in-between.

Average Rent in Ho Chi Minh City: $300 USD/month

Best Coworking Space: The Hive Saigon

 

#2 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

Digital Nomad Paradise for beginners! If you’re just starting out or experimenting with the ‘Digital Nomad’ lifestyle, you’ll be in great company in Chiang Mai. This small city has a welcoming expat community, is easy to navigate on foot, has never-ending options for cheap food (both Thai and international), and everything is in English.

Average Rent in Chiang Mai: $200 USD/month

Best Coworking Space: Punspace Wiang Kaew

 

#1 – Bali, Indonesia

 

Come to Bali for one of the best coworking spaces in the world- Dojo in the popular beach town of Canggu- and stay for the awesome international community full of expats either working remotely, teaching English, or fully retired. Oh, and the lush tropical jungle plus stunning beaches don’t hurt either.

Average Rent in Bali: $340 USD / Month

Best Coworking Space: Dojo in Canggu

 


Lower your cost of living. Pocket more money. Meet people who think like you.

Cuz’ fuck it. Life is short.

The ULTIMATE Prep & Packing List for Travelers

There’s a difference between someone who goes on vacation and someone who travels. 

This list is for the latter. 

*This is a long one. Read this whole thing and now, you essentially travel like me. 

 

Here is every gadget, credit card, and habit that I carry with me when I travel.

I save money.

 I avoid problems.

I gain time.

All because I pack and prep like the god damn pro traveler that I am.

Tick these items off your packing prep list, and you will have learned the lessons which took me nearly 10 years to master.


prep list


#1 – Check your Passport

AMERICAN PASSPORT

There are things about your passport that you don’t know!

First, make sure that you have more than 6 months validity on your passport. In other words, make sure your passport doesn’t expire in the next 6 months.

For example, if your trip begins on January 1st, 2020, your passport must be valid AT LEAST until July 1st, 2020. Countries reserve the right to put you right back on a plane to where you came from if your passport expires within 6 months.

Second, check how many pages you have left. Some countries (like Cambodia and Vietnam) don’t simply give you a stamp, they give you a gigantic sticker that takes up an entire page! If you’re running low on space, this could be an issue.

Oh, and make a couple copies of your passport to keep on hand. Black and white is fine. 

#2 – GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

I would never travel without travel insurance and neither should you.

1 week. 1 month. It doesn’t make a difference. You need to be covered for everything from Lost Baggage to Motorbike Accidents.

When traveling long-term, I use IMG Insurance as the plans are more economical for bigger trips and they provide extensive coverage with everything from hospital visits to flight cancelations. Customer service is quick to handle your claim and reimburse you!

For trips under 3-months, I use WorldNomads Travel Insurance as they offer the most straight-forward travel plans ever. Pick the Standard Plan for basic travel coverage/flight delay protection or the Explorer Plan for extreme adventures like Kayaking and Rock-climbing. These plans include massive accident coverage from $100,000 to $1,000,000 – plus, evacuation coverage if you need to be helicoptered off a mountain somewhere.  

#3 – update your bank cards and credit cards

As a traveler, there are two money rules to live by:

  • Don’t buy flights and hotels with cash
  • Make sure your debit card is compatible with foreign ATMS.

If you’re cool with traveling with your weak-ass Visa debit card, skip to listicle #4. If you want to save money and rack up travel points for free flights, I’ll break down my Bank Card Trifecta now…

I travel with 3 cards in my wallet at all times: 1 amazing debit card and 2 travel credit cards.

              1. Charles Schwab Debit Card – Best for International ATM Withdrawals
        1. Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2x points when used on flights, hotels, Uber, AirBnb, and Restaurants + Trip Cancelation Coverage (weather, sickness and other causes)
        2. American Express Platinum – The Most Powerful Travel Credit Card Ever + Airport Lounge Global Access with Priority Pass & 5x points on flights and hotels.

For more info (and to learn how to fly Business Class for free) check out The Best Travel Credit Cards and Travel Debit Cards.

#4 – Medications & Travel Vaccinations

No, you cannot bring your Adderall to Thailand or Indonesia. Not even with a prescription.

No, you do not need to start taking Malaria medication before you visit Southeast Asia.

And yes, you can bring Tylenol and motion sickness pills – but you can also buy them inside stores all over Southeast Asia.

Now, what about vaccinations?

Before you go anywhere, make sure you’re up to date on all the basic vaccinations like Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B, and your MMR vaccine.

Just like shopping for a travel insurance plan, your vaccinations and medications will depend on which destination you’re visiting.

The CDC Website…and your doctor who just googled the CDC website before your visit…might recommend some whacky vaccines aimed to cover people working on Pig Farms and teaching English by candlelight in remote jungle villages for 5 months. But that’s not you.

So, what about the CDC’s recommendations? Do you really need the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine? No. Do you need the Rabies series? Nah, not really. Am I a doctor? Absolutely fackin’ not, but I have lived in Asia for a very long time and have never heard of any travelers contracting rabies or Japanese Encephalitis.

Tip: Skip the high price of vaccinations at home and get your vaccinations at an international hospital in Asia for a fraction of the price.

#5 – Download this traveling organizing app

The most useful travel app ever is called TripIt. It’s an app that organizes all of your travel reservations into one clean timeline that you can access both  online and offline.

You simply forward your confirmation emails (hotels, flights, tours) to Plans@Tripit.com (once you’ve registered) and your itinerary is immediately organized to the app on your phone.

Need to pull up the directions to your hotel? The link is in your app. Need the confirmation number for your airline reservation? It’s in your app. Need the local phone number of the AirBnb you’ve booked? Just click the number in the app.

Game Changer.

Packing list


#1 – The best travel backpack ever

You and your travel backpack will develop an intimate bond. You will sleep with your backpack, snuggle your backpack, and you might eventually name your backpack. You need to love your travel backpack!

After 9 years of backpacking and nearly $1,000 spent on testing out 5 high-quality travel backpacks, I have finally settled on a favorite: The Farpoint 40 Liter.

This backpack is everything:

  • Compact carry-on bag perfect for the overhead bin
  • Comfortable fit for long days of carry
  • Front Open zip panel for organization
  • Versatile and secure pockets that can fit big items like Nike shoes!
  • Duo-Carry Function: carry as a backpack or a duffle bag
  • Perfect size for a long-trip!

#2 – Anti-theft purse

It’s not just the locals you’ve got to watch for, it’s also other travelers. Pick-pocketers prey on girls who have their guard down at parties, on buses, and in large crowds.

So, here is what you need to look for when buying your travel purse:

  • Zippers, not magnet or Velcro straps
  • Across-the-shoulder carry
  • Thick straps that are hard to break
  • Classic design that you’ll actually want to wear the whole trip

For a day purse that can carry your essentials plus snacks and a sweater, the Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Bag is the best.

For a “Just my money and keys” bag that you’ll want to wear out on the town, Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Heritage Small Crossbody Bag is it.

#3 – Adapters & Converters

Adapters and converters are not the same thing.

Adapters only help your plug fit the wall socket. The wall plugs at home may be rectangles, but in Bali they are circles. You need adapters for things like phone chargers.

Converters fit the wall socket and convert the electric voltage. Try plugging your blow dryer into a socket with a higher voltage and POOF, you’ve just broken your blow dryer.

Electronics need an adapter. Hair tools need a converter.

#4 – A pen

Duh. But I bet you’ll forget to pack it!

Pack 5. Stick them everywhere.

#5 – PAck Light

The less things you have, the more free you are.

Save room for shopping. And if you are unsure on whether to bring those jeans, or that lotion- then you don’t need them.

Airlines typically have a weight limit per bag, which can get pretty pricey if you exceed it.

Sneaky Tip: put your heaviest items in your purse or laptop bag- airline personnel rarely weigh those. Then, redistribute your items after you go through security.

The best thing to do is buy a gadget that is both, like this International Power Adapter.


What about dresses? Socks? Makeup bags? Check out my travel store to see what I travel with!


Never underestimate the power of packing like a pro.

You dissolve problems and gain power. Yes, literal power in situations that otherwise might make you feel powerless.

Packing professionally can mean the difference between paying $60 extra because your carry-on is too heavy and being bumped up to Business Class on a 7-hour leg.

Both of these things happen to me on a regular basis depending on how well I do or do not pack before my trip.

Sign-up here and I’ll send you my Official Packing Checklist for Free.